Saturday, August 07, 2004

Debunking 101

I'm receiving an increasing number of political spam email these days, urban legend spew that inevitably gets started by freepers.

These whisper campaigns can be devastating, and they are difficult to stop. But, because they are a grassroots attack, the best way to stop them is at the grassroots level.

In other words, it's not a bug, it's a feature. ;)

Freep-mail also present a GREAT opportunity to set the record straight, get the facts out to people who are clearly misinformed, show up the GOP thug tactics for what they are, and hone our own research and communications skills.

What to do when your friends send you lying email

1. Find the lies
Debunk the email with the sources listed below.

2. Send it back
Send it back to the originator, and copy his/her list.

3. Pass it on
If you have friends interested in progressive politics, send the email to them, too. Odds are high that they are receiving the same whisper campaigns, too, but they may not know where to go to debunk the lies.

4. Blog it!
Post to the blog. For example, Neil wrote an excellent debunk on an email we got about social security this week that I'll post separately.

Outstanding sources for debunking these messages:

Update 2004.08.07 SE

Here are more sites:

Politics & Science - Investigating the State of Science Under the Bush Administration

Federation of American Scientists

People for the American Way

Virginia Public Access Project - tracking state fundraising

Political Money Line - tracking federal fundraising

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting - The National Media Watchdog Group

Friday, August 06, 2004

Get an inside line on the DCCC

Via BOP News:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, aka the DCCC or D-Trip, is hosting an Open House Week through their blog, The Stakeholder, to discuss "everything from candidate recruitment and promotions to our role as a consultant in bringing grassroots support and enthusiasm to races across the country."

Call me a geek ;) , but I'm looking forward to learning more about how the DCCC operates.

I'm adding The Stakeholder to the C101 blogroll for everyone's convenience.

(Reminder: if you want to add a site to the blogroll, go ahead! I'll email you the login info and any instructions you need. Or, just send me the link.)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Kerry Offices now open in Virginia

Here is contact information for the Kerry-Edwards/Virginia Victory '04 coordinated campaign offices in Virginia.

State Headquarters
2112 West Laburnum Avenue, Suite 204
Richmond, Virginia 23227-4358
Office: 804.355.0404
Fax: 804.254.1649

Northern Virginia Regional Office
2722 Merrilee Drive Suite 310
Fairfax, Virginia 22031-4400
Office: 703.207.2004

Hopefully they will have public email addresses available soon, too.

Thanks to Documenting Democracy.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Yes, Virginia IS a Swing State

I saw this poster on the weekend at the Harrison St Coffee Shop here in Richmond. Positively brilliant.

The Facts

  • George W. Bush won Virginia by 8% of the popular vote in 2000.

  • Bush won 52% of the Virginia popular vote, Gore got 44%, and Nader 2% in 2000.

  • 47% of eligible Virginia voters didn't vote in the 2000 election.

  • 26% of registered Virginia voters did not go to the polls in 2000.

  • Virginia carries 13 electoral college votes. Bush got 5 more than Gore in 2000.

  • You have until October 4th, 2004 to register to vote in the presidential election in Virginia.

  • VA registration forms can be found HERE or at your local post office, library, and DMV.

  • Election day is Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004.

  • Download the poster, buy the poster, or get code for the ad, from the good folks at Limited Rebellion Design--and spread the word.

    Monday, August 02, 2004

    What the late great Ray has to say

    In the trailer for Ray, the new biopic feature on Ray Charles with Jaimie Foxx, here is a great scene where Ray is getting harassed in a dance hall for mixing up gospel and blues music:
    Man: You're turning God's music into sin.

    Woman: All y'all are goin straight to hell.

    Ray: If all y'all want me to keep playin, let me hear you say Amen.

    Dancehall crowd: AMEN.
    We saw the trailer at the theatre this weekend. Neil leaned over and said, "We need to teach the Democrats to say AMEN."

    And he was dead right.

    Unless there's a revolution (god bless Joe Trippi), it may take a lot of time and work and a lot more money before the mainstream media in this country are anything other than rent boys for the GOP. And we can't wait for the magic day to get our message across.

    When the media, or the GOP attack dog surrogates, make outrageous claims, twist the questions, cut off the answers, throw reality to the wind and spout their made-up numbers and their bogus bought-and-paid-for PR firm generated science--we need to get the people to say AMEN.

    What Ray Charles did in that scene was brilliant. And it's what Pierre Trudeau did. And it's what Winston Churchill did. And Mae West. And Oscar Wilde. And undoubtedly American politicans of previous generations -- I'm just too new here to know who there were, and I don't see them around us today.

    Ray Charles shifted the paradigm; he was quick and witty; he didn't fall into guilt and apologies; he was hampered by crippling "niceness"; if he turned the other cheek it was his butt cheek.

    He didn't engage, he didn't debate, he took no prisoners.

    He controlled the situation and he made the absurdity of the attackers a laughing stock.

    And he let the people be his supporters and defenders by letting them in, by being with them, by knowing the answer before he asked the question, by making it clear who the cool kids were.

    How do we teach the Democrats to say Amen?

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    Don't player hate. Player participate!

    There was a great article in Harper's recently entitled "Liberalism regained: Building the Next Progressive Majority." I couldn't find this article online, but it was a great read. My favorite quote of the feature came from Ralph Nader:

    Nader: But [the liberal community's] message is also missing somehting else: the emotional content, in the best sense of the phrase. One of the reasons is that liberals aren't good haters. Wheareas the agents and apostles of the right, they really are haters.

    My immediate reaction was internally uproarious laughter. Did Nader just call the Republicans haters? Thank God. Somebody needs to inform those suckas that they bout to get served, and Nader seems like a worthy candidate.

    Which is not to say that I prefer him over Kerry, but despite the fact that he's siphoning away votes, you've got to respect the man for what he represents. Nader is not afraid to wear his liberalism on his sleeve. He and many others are trying to do what I think Shaula means when she says "redefining the terms of the public debate."

    One term the liberals in this article relied heavily on was the "reactionary right." I think this is most telling, and at the same time most disheartening. Many people support the Republican party because they have a clearly defined and vehemently upheld message and focus and purpose. However that focus fundamentally boils down to fighting off liberals and there attempts to change the government. Slashing taxes actually means cutting down on liberal government programs. Anti-gay legislation actually means attacking the social movements that surround the progressives in this country. The political right as it is defined today is fundamentally a reaction to the political left's desire for progress. However they are able to pretend to have tangible goals and messages and they flood the American public with these goals and messages using their influence in corporate media and political organizations.

    On the other hand, liberals actually do have very credible and outstanding goals. True freedom and equality for all. Fair wages. Social justice. A cooperative and enlightened foreign policy. The problem is that liberals have been spending the past three decades running away from the label of "liberal" rather than projecting our message into the minds and consciousness of Americans. Polls show that the majority of citizens actually support progressive measures such as a living wage, yet for some reason the political climate always seems to be at an equilibrium somewhere to the right.

    What does that all mean? It means that Liberals actually have a righteous policy focus. It means that Conservatives policy focus fundamentally relies on destroying liberal gains and blocking progress. If the Republicans didn't have the Democrats, their party would fall apart (or turn this country into a military state). Democrats truly have the better argument. Philosophically they should have an easier time arguing their rhetoric, yet we've seen the past three decades more or less dominated by a Republican executive branch.

    I can't remember exactly who it was (I think maybe it was Chris Miller?) but someone at Campaign 101 urged us not to think of the Green Party as a group we had to work to steal votes from. Instead he described them as the far left wing of the Democratic party that we abandoned when we lost power to the reactionary right and told us it was our duty to bring those true liberals back into the Democratic party. I'm beginning to take that call much more seriously. In the 7th House district Eric Cantor is being contested by an Independent Green Party Candidate. Dr. Brad Blanton will have a ridiculous battle to fight to win over the 7th district, but the fact that he's fighting in areas that Democrats have long abandoned as hopeless is an inspiring sign.

    It's a discussion worth having. Too often Democrats tend to disappear after elections. This gives me something to focus on whether Kerry's in the White House or not. Redefining the terms of the public political debate can't be won unless we progressives organize. In the time since LBJ, there has never been a greater opportunity for us to take back the political climate in America than this very moment. I'm so excited.